Thursday, April 8, 2021

The Maggot - Live Matter in a Dead Body - Issue #4

 The Maggot

Live Matter in a Dead Body”

Issue No. 4 November 24, 1941 Published by “The Maggots”

The Gay Nineties Revue”

In as much as it is the policy of THE MAGGOT to bring to light any true facts that we feel need presenting, we want to make it clear that we do not lay the responsibility for the over-conservative policies of the institution at the feet of only the administrators – no indeed – a good share of the credit is due our board of trustees with special recognition going to the executive committee.

Of the thirteen members on that fine body, seven are eligible for the degree “old faithful” each having served at least twenty years – in fact, the fortieth anniversary of one, namely the maternal parent of our illustrious political protege, will be observed next year. It is of extraordinary interest that this good member is the only one who holds a position on six of the trustee committees. No other trustee who has served only fifteen or twenty years and consequently whose conservatism can be doubted is allowed to take that much responsibility for running the school. Those irresponsible and unreliable liberals and new-comers who have served only four to eight years are allowed on at most three committees, and Carl Voigt, a truly liberal “scoundrel”, cannot be trusted on any committee. The “terrible thirties” are not as qualifying as the “gay nineties”.

Last year when we were without a president, what was the excuse that our good vice president presented for the slow action of the board? Oh yes, he said that it was so hard to get them together. Bear in mind however that all the members of the executive committee are Huron residents. It is a private hypothesis that the reason they couldn't get together was because one took his nap at two and another his at three, an thus anyone can see that a meeting was simply impossible.

As long as Huron college is run by a group of oldsters who are actually senile, we can never hope for a progressive school. The last issue of the Alphomega reminds us that we should be duly reverent of our faithful administrators and those who have given their lives to the institution, but how can we be expected to be reverent of policies that have not changed since the turn of the century.

In case the administrators and trustees are inclined to laugh this off, let us remind them that 90 per cent of the Huron business men questioned thought that the college was hopelessly outdated and run by antiquated, debilitated, senile individuals.

We Love Our Student Lounge

Yes, we love our student lounge! It has everything we need to lounge. There are some lovely, comfortable straight-back chairs to relax in; a few desks to write on; and some beautiful ebony black-boards to look at. We are right across the hall from the library where we can make all the noise we want. We could smoke too, only it seems the trustees are afraid it might stunt our growth. We might be able to have a nickleodeon too, only the faculty would probably move it down to that much-used lounge of theirs. We don't need a coke dispenser because the walk over to the store does us good, and besides all our organizations have plenty of money – they don't need the added income. Yes, this is a haven of rest for the scholastically weary.

The trophy room of our gymnasium is an ideal place for our proposed plan. Installation of a nickleodeon, a few pieces of appropriate furniture, distinctive decorations, and a coca-cola dispenser would satisfy any student body. Frequently planned evening get-togethers of “the gang” at such a place would help to “Keep the College on the Campus”, give the students a chance to become better acquainted with one another, and prevent the frequenting of suburban clubs.

We are convinced the “Little Student Union” would work, and why should any administration hesitate to put it into operation. Surely campus organizations would be only too glad to have such a place on our campus, and would assist financially in getting it started.

If we want to put Huron on top, we must keep abreast of the other schools. We must make at least a few improvements. This school has some fine incorporated rules an regulations, but evidently it has quite forgotten that is students no longer come to school via horse and buggy. Huron college NEEDS the “Little Student Union.”


The Maggot - Live Matter in a Dead Body Issue #3

The Maggot

Live Matter in a Dead Body”

Issue No. 3 November 17, 1941 Published by “The Maggots”

The Case of Big Dan Greek

I can see Dan now; a 190 pound, six foot, likeable boy who loved Huron college and football with an ambitious fervor. He won his letter quite easily in his first and only year at Huron, and he graciously admitted that he learned more football in his one season at Huron than he had in four full years of championship high school competition.

Why did Dan drop out? The answer is too simple. Because he was compelled, by the powers that be, to fight against unsurmountable odds. He fought a valiant fight with his chin up and he always had a ready smile, but the inevitable finish was written when his mid-term grades appeared at the halfway mark in the second semester. He had flunked beyond the point of recovery.

After twenty-seven solid weeks of rising at five o'clock every morning to tend a furnace and do odd jobs for a basement room, attending a solid schedule of morning classes, working entire afternoons on the campus, working nights in a downtown cafe for his bread and butter, then finishing the day with an eleven o'clock date in a furnace room, and yet attempt to eke out a scholastic existence was more than even “Big Boone” could survive. If he had been relieved of just one of these binding responsibilities, he could have stayed in school and would have returned this year. Unfortunately the opposite was the case; over all his unending tasks, he was constantly hounded for a small debt which he believed, in good faith, he had worked out early in the year.

We walked to school that sharp winter morning, Dan and I; he had his suitcase, and both of us dreaded the moment when we should reach the college, he to go on by and I to stay. When we reached the north steps he took a deep breath, I blinked my eyes and he offered his huge right hand, which I grasped and said, “Well Kid... I … guess this is it.”

“Yeah, and luck to ya”, he floundered.

There were tears in his eyes as he turned his back on the school he loved, and reluctantly strode toward the highway to hitch-hike home, never to return.

Who is Holding Huron Back?

One man has set himself up as the supreme deity of Huron college. Students and faculty alike fear his power. By denying financial support to any plan he disapproves is his very effective way of committing murder. The murder of an institution that could very well be one of the finest in the country.

With sensible use of available resources Huron college could make itself more than attractive to the thousands of South Dakota young people who are seeking an education. President George F. McDougall knows how to put us back on the map but the Board of Trustees and the student body must give their full support. We know that 95 per cent of the students are ready to give that support.

“The Maggot” will continue indefinitely as the uncensored voice of the student body. We need money badly, but if we can't get it from those who read the paper we will sell ads. We don't want the townsmen to know of our dissension, but necessity is the only word we can recognize.


To Whom It May Concern –

The above case is an unsolicited contribution to this periodical, made by one who thought it worthy of telling. It is the plain and unadulterated truth. “The Maggot” welcome any further such articles that may happen to fall into the right hands. It will be our policy to print the rights and wrongs of this institution in their entirety. And when our story is completed we'll reveal our identity and be ready to stand back of anything we have said. Any efforts to destroy these worthy missiles, by self-appointed policemen AND WOMEN will only further bring the contempt and amusement of the student body upon their heads. We realize that in every movement to change the status quo, there are certain skeptics and busy-bodies who will do their best to make it a failure.

The Maggot - Live Matter in a Dead Body - Issue #2

 Issue #2 of Huron College's "disgruntled student" newsletter, "The Maggot - Live Matter in a Dead Body"

The Maggot

No. 2

We are not peddling paradise! We are defending Huron college from what has developed to the point of reactionary dictatorialism. We are conducting a clean up campaign aimed at releasing this institution from the tentacles of tight-fisted miserliness where absolutely necessary expenditures are concerned in regard to athletics and other campus programs.

No college can keep students or get a sufficiency of new ones when they have nothing to show or offer. Future enrollees want more than a gospel team, they want a football team. We don't need a steamroller, but we do need a few victories every season.

We have had two complete seasons without a single win. This year our opponents chalked up over 300 points to Huron's 18. Our boys have had the courage to go out there week after week and take a beating. Have they climbed on “the butcher wagon” for nothing? Our team has the skill and the guts, but they lack the weight and number.

Why do they lack the weight? Why do they lack numbers? Simply because we have to take what we get. We don't go out after the desired athletes nor do we hold them if they make, what so far has been the mistake of coming here. Ask Mr. P. or Miss D. what happened to Sedley Stuart, Bob Fisher, Ray Hilestad, Dan Greek Blair Peterson, Lee Pederson, etc.

What do politicians and bookkeepers know about running an athletic program. There is one long, lanky, lean Scotchman and one big, burly, benevolent sports mentor that do know how, but their hands are tied. It is up to the students to get behind them and cut those bonds. Put the power where power belongs.

We need athletic scolarships! [sic] We need definite jobs for football players! No more hackneyed promises! There is plenty of room in the gym for an athletes [sic] dormitory! Every other school has an assistant coach! The town wants to help us, but they won't if we do not help ourselves first!

A prospective athlete has to run the gauntlet of fountain pens, spectacles and dollar signs and then is met with a very verbose request for self-sacrifice. This is certainly a Christian institution.

Well, the Maggots are going to cogitate awhile. Next week, more true facts will be brought to light. We don't want indulgence. We're for action. We're for cleaning house!

[handwritten note: “The second addition [sic]. The third will come out Monday and will get one for us.”]

The Maggot - Live Matter in a Dead Body, Issue 1

 In November of 1941, what seems to be a small group of disgruntled students at Huron College began publishing "The Maggot - Live Matter in a Dead Body" newsletter.  I have issues 1-4, although I do not know how many were published in total.  Here, I present Issue #1, along with a handwritten note from the original owner.

The Maggot - Live Matter in a Dead Body”

This publication is the weekly official clarion of an organization known as “The Maggots”. It is not a radical or revolutionary paper, but rather it is a symbol of the progressiveness which will be the policy of this body of liberal young men who are devoted to the abolition of over-conservativism [sic] on the part of certain Huron college administrators.

This college has been run into the ground by the stupid die-hards in power. Because of our athletic shortcomings, and because of our all-around failure to keep up with the times in progressive college activities, we have become the laughing stock of South Dakota schools.

Huron college is as dead as the proverbial doornail and is will [sic] remain that way until we students get behind a movement that will sweep before it the vestiges of moronic stubbornness which permeates the lifeless structure of this so-called institution. Those who fear for their jobs may sympathize with our cause, but they dare not participate in such changes as they may favor. It's up so [sic] the student body to create a force of public opinion which cannot be denied.

“The Maggots”, therefore, proclaim themselves as the heart of a new body that is to take the place of the old. Where before stood the skeleton of a rotten situation, there will rise a new being, a new college with a real administration which will have wholehearted support of a large and active student body.

The die has been cast. It is up to us as members of this student body to provide the molten material. If you want something to be proud of, form your opinion now and BE READY FOR FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS.

--Boost For The Maggots--

[handwritten note: “This was printed early Friday morning by some College boys. No one knows who they are. I think Carroll Ray is one I think. The Dean is very disgusted and the teachers are all up in the air. These were put all over the walls in the College. Pap was mad because they were run off his press and he didn't know it. Will tell u the result later.”]

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

The Grand Opera House - Huron, South Dakota


For 17 years, the Grand Opera House provided a venue for many of Huron's political and entertainment events.  It was built at 32 Third St. SW. , at the site of what many of us know as the former downtown J. C. Penney store.  Construction was started in 1885, and it was in operation until it burned to the ground on Dec. 17, 1902.   The auditorium had seating for 300, but as a whole, included upstairs and downstairs, it could accommodate 1200-2000 people.  The apartment above the Opera House was occupied by Sgt. Glenn of the US Signal Service Station.  There were other offices and rooms rented out as well.

The 1898 Sanborn Fire Map shows the building's location in downtown Huron.  A grocery store was located to the east, and a steam laundry across the alley to the west were the Grand Opera House's nearest neighbors at that time.  

Closeup of the Sanborn map above

The night of the fire was an eventful one for Huron; not only was the opera house in danger, but the entire block, which comprised 20% of Huron's business wealth.   The best way to tell the story is to let the Daily Huronite, as written at that time, do it.

Huron Daily Huronite
Dec. 18, 1902, pg. 4


Huron Grand Opera House is Burned to the Level of the Street
Most Destructive Fire in Huron for Years Endangers for Hours Balance of the City
A Bad Blaze, With City in Danger, is Well Fought, and the Firemen are Heroes
North Bros. Theater Lost Several Thousand Dollars -- Other Losses

     Fire was discovered in the Grand opera house at 4:50 Wednesday afternoon, and for over two hours of stubborn resistance to the efforts of the firemen it was a question whether the balance of the block, representing one-fifth of the business wealth of the city, could be saved. Not until after 7 o'clock was it safe to hazard the notion that the fire was under control. Every foot of available hose in the city was at command, a large force of firemen worked steadily and admirably, water was turned into the Third street water pipes from every direction so that the pressure was the best that could be had and a flood of water was turned into the building, yet the best that could be done was to prevent the fire from spreading. That the fire did not get away from the building is a matter of congratulation to Huron people, as doubtless 20 per cent of the entire business wealth of the city is contained in the block on Third street and Dakota avenue in which the opera house was situated. The opera house building burned to the ground, leaving standing only a part of the front wall.

     The Grand opera house building was owned by W. L. Miner, although a sale was in course of completion when the fire alarm was sent in.
     The North Bros. Theater company were playing a week's engagement and some members of the company were in the building and in the neighborhood when the fire was first discovered. Smoke was seen curling up through the stage from a fire which had communicated from the furnace to the wood-work in the dressing rooms under the stage, and an alarm was at once sent in. The theatrical people got at some of their trunks, but as soon as the fire chief arrived he ordered all doors closed and no further admittance was allowed to the building. Considerable personal property might have been saved had the doors been open, but the chief doubtless acted wisely in taking every precaution that would seem advisable toward the end of saving the balance of the block.
     For an hour and a half there was no blaze, although the dense volumes of smoke showed the interior well [sic] on fire. Lines of hose were played into the front and rear of the doomed building; two streams were played onto the blaze from the side stairway of the Wilcox building, across the alley on the west, while firemen with a line of hose worked from the roof of the adjoining block on the east. In fact, there was a steady flood of water pouring into the blaze from the start, but the building being a brick veneer except on the west where it joined the Meyers solid brick, there was no much of a chance to save the building after fire had once established a right of way between the wood-work and the walls.
     Not until 8 P.M. Did the firemen feel confident that adjoining property was comparatively safe, when a recess was taken for supper, although water was played on the ruins all night.
     The insurance on the opera house was $3000, as follows: $1000 in the New York Underwriters; $1000 in the Palatine, of London; $1000 in the Glenn's Falls, Minnesota. Policies to the amount of $6000 expired only a few days since.

     North Bros. Theatrical company were playing an engagement in the Grand, and are heavy losers. Most of the theatrical wardrobe was in the property room – thirty five trunks filled, going up in the blaze.
     Every piece of the scenery of the company – probably $400 – was lost.
     The North Bros. And members figure themselves out several thousands [sic] dollars. Five hundred dollars would no more than replace each of the ladies' wardrobes, and with thirty-five big property trunks, the loss here reaches well up in the thousands.
     Although every man in the company is a loser to some extent, the ladies have fared worse.
     The personnel of the North Bros. Company as appearing here this week, all of whom are losers: C. Chapin North, F. C. Carter, Fredk. Clarke, C. B. Monroe, Edwin Patterson, Gavin Dorothy, M. Tarlton, Genevierre Russell, Mabel Colton, Gertrude Clarke, Mae Monroe, Annetta Tarlton, Virginia Harvey, Grant Simpson.
     The North Bros. Will play to a benefit performance in the Daum opera house this (Thursday) evening.

     In case of fire no effort is made to save any of the instruments, furniture, etc. In the offices of the Western Union Telegraph company. So when the fire became too warm in the Western Union offices on the second floor of the opera house building, the manager clicked his last message in the old office, locked the doors, and Mr. Jones and his assistants proceeded to the general offices of the North-Western railway company, where desk room was supplied and business resumed, after an intermission of the time required in walking from the opera house to the new temporary quarters – a distance of two blocks. Commercial business will be handled from this latter location for a few days. The Western Union loss will not exceed $700.

     The first two brick store buildings on the east, adjoining the opera house, are owned by F. M. Wilcox. The solid wall withstood the fire in good shape, and saved the balance of the block.
     The first store room on the east was occupied by Cory & McAdams, dry goods. Everything was taken off the shelves and there will be considerable loss here in the finer grades of dry goods. The store will not open until the insurance adjusters get through with their work, although the proprietors hope to resume business by Monday – possibly before.
     Next east from Cory & McAdam is A. Robinson, shoes. Window displays here were taken down and preparations made for moving, but there will be no loss except the time necessary to rearrange.

     The Grand opera house was built in 1886, by Helm & Walters, and cost about $22,000. The property changed hands a number of times and was later sold to C. S. Loveland, for $7500. Mr. Loveland managed the house until he sold to W. L. Miner, on May 1, 1902. Mr. Miner paid $8500 for the property and carried $3000 insurance.
     Mr. Miner was negotiating a sale of the property when the fire broke out. A check in payment for the same had been drawn and awaited the completion of transfer papers on the part of Mr. Miner. An attorney was at work on the final transfer when the alarm was sounded.
     From the opera house east to the Dakota avenue corner and thence south, offices in the second and third floors were occupied by professional men. Here in many cases doctors and lawyers moved out – while clear through the block arrangements were in course toward getting out – it looking at times as though the block was doomed.

     Nels Paulson, tailor, first floor, moved out most of the stuff. Will lose some. Insured.
     Byron Healey, bakery, first floor and basement, moved out everything except a stove. Loses value of a bake oven.
     Dr. T. J. Wood, office on second floor, saved some of his books and furnishings. However, here also is almost a total loss, in library and surgical instruments. The doctor had $400 insurance.

     During and after the fire the firemen were tendered open house at the restaurant of Eberhart-Huntley, Senator F. M. Wilcox footing the bill. For over two hours not a fireman left his post, after which time it was safe to leave the work to relays.
     J. T. Breen is among those who attended the opening and closing dates in the Grand, being present when the building was formally opened and also holding a seat at the North Bros. Entertainment Tuesday night.
     The water pressure was excellent, and the Huron fire department did splendidly. The work was well handled and there was at no time a class in the execution of orders. Situated in the center of a solid block of buildings, protection in every direction was necessary and this protection was so nicely balanced that adjoining buildings are scarcely more than scorched. From the start the first was in charge of Chief W. A. Ritschlag, and the HURONITE wants to congratulate the chief and every man on the force for the work done.
     The force of firemen from the shops of the North-Western railway company, with one cart, helped the city department in good shape.
     North Bros. Figure their loss will exceed $5000.
     Immediately after the fire F. M. Wilcox offered Mr. Miner $4000 spot cash for the lot on which the building was situated.

The Grand Opera House

Later, J. C Penney Co. building at that site

The site as it looks today


"Do You Remember? Gov. Mellette inauguration held in Grand Opera House in 1885" by Roger Kasa.
"Frame by Frame in Huron," by William Lampe
Huron Daily Huronite, Dec. 18, 1902, pg. 4
Google Earth
Pro-Division Day Celebration and Re-enactment Pamphlet
June 1898 Huron, South Dakota Sanborn Fire Maps